How to Write an Analytical Essay: Tips from 8 Experts

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How to Write an Analytical Essay: Tips from 8 Experts

An analytical essay is a specialized form of assignment that is written in order to help the reader gain a better understanding of a particular object.  Any object can be the subject of an analytical essay, including an event, a literary work, or even a person.  

Regardless of what the subject matter will be for your analytical essays, the first step is to take the object apart in order to examine each of its components closely.  Obviously, this doesn't mean that you physically take the subject apart.  Rather, you break it down into smaller pieces.  For example, if writing about a person, you might break that person's life into categories such as early childhood, childhood, teen years, young adult years, etc.

After you have broken the subject down into smaller parts, you will then examine it within its historical context.  If you are writing about a painting, for example, you might consider how the style impacted the art world at the time it was created as well as the impact it has on art today.

Finally, your analytical report should discuss the message the subject is trying to convey.  If you are writing about a book, you might write about what the author was trying to say in the story.

As you analyze the object that you will be writing about, it is important that you write down all of the ideas that come to mind.  Although you may not use everything that you write down in your analytical essay, simply writing down your thoughts will help you with tying them all together.  This also makes it easier for you to refresh your thoughts and ideas after you have completed your analysis.

When you write down the thoughts that occur to you while analyzing an article, you should feel free to write down even those thoughts that might seem unusual.  Often, these are the thoughts that make a solid base for a great article.  In fact, it is often the reports with new and unusual ideas that have the greatest impact on readers and receive the most positive feedback.

Once you have completely analyzed the item, you need to develop a thesis.  The thesis statement is the one sentence that expresses the main idea of the entire article.  As such, everything else you write in your analytical essay will serve to support your thesis.  The thesis should be included in the first paragraph of your essay, which is referred to as the introductory paragraph.

The body of your analytical report should tell the reader all of the facts or evidence that you have gathered in support of your thesis.  Each of the paragraphs in the body of your report should include a topic sentence, which serves to support the thesis, as well as additional sentences that further support the topic sentence.  

Finally, your analytical report should end with a conclusion paragraph.  This paragraph restates your thesis statement, though it must be written in a way that is different from in the introductory paragraph.  In addition, the conclusion serves to summarize what was stated in the body of your article.

Viewpoint of Author #2

Analysis term papers attempt to thoroughly inspect topics and to present findings in the form of assignments.  In order to accomplish this task, writers must break down a given topic into parts in order to make the reader understand the entire concept.  For this reason, an analysis term paper is an academic writing that purposefully discusses a subject in detail.  Unlike an article, this composition is generally longer and can be divided into sections.

In order to writer quality analysis term papers, the student needs to carefully follow steps that lead to the development of a well-formatted paper.  In the first place, the student must create a thesis statement, which is a sentence that expresses the main ideas.  Generally, the thesis statement is the last sentence in the introduction (or first paragraph).  It helps to guide the reader by letting him or her know what the report will cover.

The introduction is where the reader will develop an initial understanding of the student's argument or the article's purpose.  Because the introduction sparks the reader's interest, it is necessary for the writer to compose a focused and exciting introduction.  Some writers choose to write the introduction last because it allows them to compose a better paragraph.  Writers can improve introductions by using the following techniques: (1) begin with a quotation, (2) begin with a question, (3) begin with an interesting fact, (4) begin with irony or a paradox, and (5) begin with lines form the text being analyzed.

Next, in the body paragraphs of the analysis term paper, the writer accurately presents his or her analysis.  Here, the reader learns about the topic.  The writer must not only provide evidence that supports his or her views, but the writer must also use detail, examples, and reasons to convince the reader.  Most analysis term papers incorporate the use of lines from the literary work being analyzed.  A technique known as close reading involves the careful analysis of the literary work's elements such as setting, plot, theme, and characters.  In addition, learners can include other relevant sources that comment on the cultural or historical text of the literary work being analyzed.  This technique facilitates the composition of a thorough analysis that will strengthen the thesis statement and lead to a sound conclusion.

After composing the main body paragraphs, the student must summarize the findings of his or her assignment.  The conclusion is a great place to sum up and suggest the further implications of the analysis.  Writers must succinctly draw connections between the chosen literary work and other references that reflect its historical or cultural contexts.  Thus, the conclusion is the final step in the process of writing a quality analysis project that presents and substantiates the student's argument.

Viewpoint of Author #3

An analytical research paper is a text that uses research to augment the writer's own critical interpretation of a text, concept, or theory.  An analytical research paper attempts to forward a certain idea about the object it is studying through careful examination of detailed components of the object of study.  It does this through the writer's own insight and ideas, but uses published research to bolster that insight.  Analytical research papers differ from analytical essays in one primary way: analytical essays typically do not require the writer to draw on external references.

An analytical research paper is written to present the writer's own interpretation of the text, concept, or theory the article is examining.  This requires the writer to first establish what this interpretation is, and then to develop that interpretation into a clear thesis statement.  For instance, a student may be writing an analytical research paper on William Shakespeare's Hamlet.  First, the student would need to decide what he or she was going to write about by taking a stance on some aspect of the text.  For instance, the student may decide he or she thinks that Prince Hamlet is truly mad throughout the duration of the entire play.  This is the student's thesis statement.  The student would then proceed to defend that thesis by using his or her own interpretive skills by pointing to areas in the text that suggest Hamlet may be insane and also by pointing to multiple pieces of valid scholarly literature that also support the idea that Hamlet is mad.  These sources do not necessarily have to have the same thesis as the student's—they do not even have to be on exactly the same topic.  Sometimes, scholarly texts will only address the student's thesis idea in one paragraph.  Other times, a student may point to research that disagrees with the student's thesis, and point to ways in which that research's interpretation is faulty.  Regardless, analytical reports should include quotes and paraphrases from several different scholarly texts in such a way as to assist the student's thesis development.

The process of incorporating these sources into the document requires the student to select only the best quotations and points from each source.  Analytical reports should not rely on the research to make the article's main points; rather, the writer should use the research to bolster his or her own points that he or she has determined from independent analysis of the object of study.  

An analytic report should conclude by pointing to the main points the writer suggested in the document and indicating what those points imply about the topic in general.  This is the place for the writer's insight on the particular object of study to be fully explained and revealed.

Viewpoint of Author #4

An analysis dissertation is a lengthy, original text often written in the areas of the humanities that undertakes an investigation of a particular text, topic, or philosophy to present a unique argument about that text, topic, or philosophy in a way that contributes to its understanding.  Analysis dissertations are composed by doctoral students in the final phases of their graduate study, and are overseen by a committee comprised of advanced professors in the field in which the thesis is being written.  Such documents are directed by and eventually approved by those committees before a doctoral student is allowed to take his or her Ph.D.

Indeed, analysis reports should follow a standard format and presentation as determined by the writer's field or department.  Most analysis dissertations are based in some part on a primary source text—a document in its original, unedited form.  The author's analysis of these primary texts should be complemented by a survey of relevant and contemporary research already performed in the area on which the thesis is being written.  Though research in the humanities does not become less relevant over time in the same way that studies in the sciences do, it is still best to focus the survey of relevant research on contemporary studies in order to be aware of what contemporary trends and fellow academics are thinking about the subject.  

An analysis report should set forth one specific argument about the topic at hand and use various evidence and arguments to support it.  Furthermore, that chosen topic should be one that has not already been written on in order to present a text that makes original contributions to the field.  For instance, an analysis dissertation of Shakespeare's Hamlet should not put forth the argument that Laertes serves as Prince Hamlet's foil—this is both obvious and too broad to serve as a topic of detailed investigation.  A more refined argument would perhaps put forth how a trauma analysis of Laertes and Hamlet reveals men brought to conflict as the result of trauma that was, in the historical context of the play, unacceptable to publicly air.  

The point of the analysis dissertation is to provide new insight on a text or topic, but that claim should not be invented from outside the text in an effort toward originality.  Every aspect of an analysis article's argument should be defended in multiple ways using a variety of examples from the primary text(s).  No claim should be asserted without ample evidence and analysis.  

Dissertations written in the humanities frequently follow the stylistic guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Viewpoint of Author #5

An analysis essay is a document that presents a critical assessment of a text, concept, behavior, or other entity in a thorough and academic way.  As its name suggests, an analysis essay is intended to analyze using a variety of critical thinking skills and approaches.  Unlike many other types of assignments that include the views of the author, and particularly unlike persuasive essays, which attempt to convince the reader of the merits of a particular issue or idea, analysis essays examine a topic in an almost scientific way, seeking to uncover the way the object of analysis operates and acts.  

Indeed, analysis essays are a favorite assignment of many teachers because they require critical assessment, sharp attention to detail, and keen insight.  All three of these qualities must figure prominently in an effective analysis article.  

First, an analysis essay must put forth a thesis statement somewhere in the first 1/4 of the text.  A thesis is a sentence or two that states WHAT a report is about—the point or argument—and HOW that point or argument is going to be explained and defended.  In an analysis paper, the WHAT of the article is typically the object of analysis, and the HOW is the way in which the writer is going to analyze that object.  For instance, an analysis essay on campaign advertisements during an election might look at television commercials, political mailings, and newspaper advertisements to make a point about the ways the advertisements manipulate language to bend the truth about candidates.  In this analysis essay, the thesis would be as follows: "In the recent election, campaign advertisements of both political parties manipulated language to bend the truth and suggest damaging claims about opposition candidates.  An examination of television commercials, political mailings, and newspaper advertisements in the months leading to the election reveals increasingly incendiary accusations directed at both candidates presented through the effective "spin" of political jargon."  

In this essay, the writer would critically examine the language used in various types of campaign advertising to make her claim that the advertisements used specific wording to manipulate the truth.  This essay might compare advertisement claims to the sources from which they were drawn in order to determine the accuracy of the statements and whether they were taken out of context.  For each example the author used, she would examine each aspect of the campaign wording and explain how it was manipulating reality.  Through this careful, detailed analysis, she would be able to defend her ultimate point, which is that "in the recent election, campaign advertisements of both political parties manipulated language to bend the truth and suggest damaging claims about opposition candidates."

Analysis essays can be understood as examinations of different cultural and artistic phenomena.  The object of analysis is being placed under a microscope, and the job of the writer is to report what her or she sees.  The conclusion of an analysis report should point to the findings of the analysis, and suggest what those findings indicate about the topic being studied.

Viewpoint of Author #6

Understandably, the various types of reports often cause a great deal of confusion amongst the students who are required to write them.  And, arguably, some college report styles are easier to grasp than others.  The analysis research paper is one of the easier paper formats to understand.

An analysis research paper is used to simply analyze and explain (or defend) a particular topic, subject, procedure, etc.  Because an analysis is a relatively straightforward procedure, writing an analysis research paper is equally straightforward.

Analysis research papers have three essential components; the thesis, the argument, and the conclusion.  Just about every writing assignment needs some sort of thesis statement, so students shouldn't find this part of an analysis research paper difficult to handle.  The subject matter is generally easily managed, as well, since most instructors will assign topics that apply to the course.

Students should view the thesis as a sort of introduction to the topic.  After briefly discussing the topic, the writer should make a definitive statement about the subject.  This is a thesis statement.  An introduction and thesis statement for most analysis research papers can be managed in one paragraph unless the instructor has directed otherwise (as in longer research papers).  Occasionally, students might find it easier to go back to the thesis statement after they have completed writing their document and revising or rewriting their article statement.  Doing this often helps students ensure that the thesis they've developed for their analysis research paper is solid and that the argument made in the rest of the report supports this statement.

The body of the document is comprised of the analysis itself.  Preparing a thorough analysis research paper means developing a comprehensive exploration of the "who, what, when, where, and why" of a topic.  Analysis articles that lack a solid investigation of the topic are merely essays.

Every research paper has a conclusion.  An analysis research paper is no different.  In a conclusion, the writer must explain exactly how he or she arrived at her thesis and give evidence supporting his/her position.  A well-written conclusion essentially repeats the thesis statement given at the beginning of the analysis research paper and expounds upon the analysis itself.  The conclusion of every well-written analysis research paper must pull both the thesis statement and the analysis into a comprehensive conclusion which then tells the reader the writer's point-of-view.

Viewpoint of Author #7

Unlike many types of assignments that the majority of students will be required to write during the course of their academic careers, an analytical essay is often described as one of the most pleasant kinds to undertake.  Even though analytical essays require a great deal of thought and some research, it is still a report and allows for more flexibility in format than an actual reference project.

Much like an analysis research paper, an analytical essay requires that a student provide a clear introduction, body, and conclusion to the document.  In the introduction of an analytical essay, the student must clearly state his or her thesis and discuss how the analysis of the topic will be formatted.  A short discussion of the topic can also be included only insomuch as it serves as a way of introducing the topic to a reader who may have no familiarity with the topic.

In the body of the analytical essay, a student must delve into the "meat" of the topic.  Each paragraph of the body should have a clear topic sentence, three or four sentences which support the topic, and a concluding sentence.  The topic sentence of each paragraph in an analytical report should tell the reader what the paragraph is about.  Each supporting sentence should support the topic sentence.  And, the concluding sentence should draw everything together and provide a reasonable segue into the next paragraph.  

All analytical essays must have a conclusion which summarizes the content.  A conclusion must not only provide the reader with a summary, it must restate and paraphrase the introduction and give the reader a sense that the subject has been concluded.  The conclusion of an analytical report should never leave the reader hanging.  It should give the reader a clear picture of what he or she has just finished reading and draws the entire paper to a close.

Some students hear the word "essay" and automatically think that the assignment is going to be easy.  And, though analytical essays are not the most difficult papers to write, they still require effort and clear direction to merit a good grade.  No instructor wants to be barraged with a stack of poorly-written analytical essays any more than he or she desires to teach a student the basics of writing.  All students should be aware of what is involved in creating a well-written analytical essay in order to submit the best paper possible.

Viewpoint of Author #8

Many students will have to write essay analyses for their courses, particularly students in undergraduate English courses.  An essay analysis is a writing assignment in which a learner will read, analyze, and respond to a particular article.  These are common writing assignments for English students because they require learners to study the form and content of essays.  However, students may also have to write essay analyses for other courses as well, especially History courses.

When a student has to create an article analysis, the student needs to begin by making sure that he or she understands all of the project requirements.  Most professors will give students a print out of the project requirements, which will include the name of the article that they will analyze, page count, style, and more.  

Students then need to locate the article that they need to analyze.  Many students will have the report in their course materials, such as a course book or as a printed hand-out from a teacher.  Students will need to read the report several times before they can create an effective analysis.  

Many students also find that they can create a more complete essay analysis is they are able to compare the report to other factors, such as the writer's environment, era, contemporaries, or other influences.  Therefore, many learners working on essay analyses need to review supporting materials before they can create an effective analysis.  

Students should always draft an outline of their document analyses before they begin to work on the drafts.  The outline will help to provide a guideline for the student as he or she begins to actually write the assignment analysis.  Many students may also find that they need to expand or remove some of the materials that they originally thought they would include in the report analysis once they create the outline.  

The first draft of a report analysis is not going to be the same as the last draft.  Therefore, learners should be sure to set aside plenty of time for revisions to the report analyses.  

An essay analysis is a standard writing assignment for many pupils.  However, students also need to be aware that an essay analysis is not the same as a literature review.  While an essay may be considered a piece of literature, a literary report is a more formal assignment that requires students to analyze a literary work.  An essay analysis is generally a simpler and more specific assignment.

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